Use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves. Luke 16:9
When a corporation offered one thousand frequent-flier miles for every ten purchases of one of their foods, one man realized their cheapest product was individual cups of chocolate pudding. He bought more than twelve thousand. For $3,000, he received gold status and a lifetime supply of air miles for himself and his family. He also donated the pudding to charity, which netted him an $800 tax write-off. Genius!
Jesus told a controversial parable about a cunning manager who, as he was being fired, reduced what debtors owed his master. The man knew he could rely on their help later for the favor he was doing them now. Jesus wasn’t praising the manager’s unethical business practice, but He knew we could learn from his ingenuity. Jesus said we should shrewdly “use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:9). As “the pudding guy” turned twenty-five cent desserts into flights, so we may use our “worldly wealth” to gain “true riches” (v. 11).
What are these riches? Jesus said, “Give to the poor” and you will “provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys” (12:33). Our investment doesn’t earn our salvation, but it does affirm it, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (v. 34).
How have you recently helped meet someone’s physical needs? Why is your charity an investment?
Loving God, help me to invest in the poor, for Jesus’ sake and Yours.
As He crafted His parables, Jesus engaged with real-world situations. This is one reason why His stories often centered on money. His audience plainly understood the necessity of possessing at least some of this world’s resources. The lesson here isn’t that we’re to be dishonest or to push the bounds of ethical behavior as this manager did. Rather, Jesus implied that we’re to be “trustworthy in handling worldly wealth” (v. 11). His point is to be generous in a God-honoring way, which begins with our reliability in little things.